Road Safety Project – Belize

Project Brief

This project completed the first phase of a long-term initiative by the Government of Belize to improve road safety in the country and is currently implementing the second phase of the road safety project. Implementation commenced in January 2013 for the first phase and in April 2019 for the second phase. Its’ overall objective is to reduce deaths and serious injuries associated with road traffic crashes along the defined Demonstration Corridor1.

Project Rationale:

  • Problem: Belize recorded 70 road traffic deaths in 2009 – 21 deaths/100,000 inhabitants. This high death rate is a public health concern that, given the resulting loss in productivity and increased vulnerability to poverty, has significant social and economic repercussions.
  • Proposed Solution: A cross-sectoral approach focusing on:-

    1. Improving the safety of road infrastructure
    2. Enhancing the behavior of road-users
    3. Improving enforcement of traffic laws
    4. Improving post-crash care
    5. Building road safety management capacity amongst responsible entities

Project Description:

  • Road Safety Infrastructure (currently implemented directly through the Ministry of Works) – improvements to the Western Highway between Belize City and Belmopan; the Philip Goldson Highway between Belize City and Northern border; and the Coastal Road.
  • Road User Education and Awareness – increasing awareness through campaigns targeting road users and students in schools along the Corridor
  • Road Safety Enforcement – improvement of traffic law enforcement through training and capacity enhancement of the relevant authorities (Police and Transport Departments; Municipalities)
  • Road Accident Emergency Services – improvement of post-crash trauma care.

The Ministry of Economic Development is the lead agency, with the various components being implemented by relevant ministries – Works, Transport and NEM, Education, Youth and Sports, Health, National Security, Government Press Office, and other key line ministries. The Road Safety Project is expected to end in March 2023 with ongoing efforts being built within key line ministries for continuity. A National Road Safety Committee was approved by the Cabinet in July 2013 and serves as the body to ensure sustainability of road safety measures in Belize in the long term. In February 2017, The Road Safety Master Plan 2030 was also approved by Cabinet with a vision of “Towards Zero Deaths on Belize’s roads and highways by ensuring that the Belize community, as a whole, works together to make a fundamental change in the way it thinks about road safety and works to address the trauma caused by everyday use of the roads. Collisions may still occur as people using the road system make mistakes or poor decisions, however, we should strive to create a system in which safe decisions are the easiest ones to make and mistakes are not punished with death or serious injury.

1Phase I – From the Belize City roundabout at the junction of Cemetery Road and Central American Blvd to the junction of the Hummingbird and Western Highways in Belmopan, along the Hummingbird Highway to its junction with Constitution Drive in Belmopan, and around the Belmopan Ring Road. Phase II – From the Belize City roundabout at the junction near Pallotti High School to the Northern Border and from the Coastal Highway between George Price Highway and the Southern Highway.